Why spend sizzling hot summer days slaving over a hot stove when you can explore cool raw cuisine instead! If you've ever tried to incorporate more fresh fruits and salads into your diet for health reasons, I consider you raw-curious. And if you've ever been to a good raw restaurant, you know that raw foodies really know how to make the best, super-healthy smoothies, salads, and Luna bar-esque snacks and treats -- delicious enough to get you craving the best-for-you foods.
While some diehard raw foodies will claim everyone, ideally, should follow a 100 percent raw diet because it can do everything from cure cancer to reverse aging, my enthusiasm for the diet is more realistic. I live in Southern California, birthplace of many a fad diet, which means I know a lot of people who've tried to go 100 percent raw and, as with most restrictive diets, couldn't stick to the rigorous demands for long.
However, while I don't think an all-raw diet's desirable or even possible for everyone, I do think most Americans would benefit enormously by incorporating more raw food into their diets. We're talking fresh, healthy, close-to-nature foods grown in season and full of flavor, enjoyed with no weird additives or strange processing! Here are five raw food chef-bloggers to get you started:
Ani Phyo's blog. If you love crave cool versions of international dishes, Ani Phyo's the raw gal for you. This eco-minded Korean-American Angeleno offers raw recipes for everything from sprouted Quinoa Tabbouleh to raw Tortilla Soup to Korean Jap Chae, which I tried making (above) and ate hungrily! Not ready to get uncooked? You will be after watching her make Coconut Cake with Nutella Hazelnut Sauce in this 7-minute video -- without turning on the oven!
Crazy Sexy Life. I don't remember why I put Crazy Sexy Cancer on my Netflix queue, but I do know when it made it to the top and arrived in my mailbox, I didn't want to watch it because I thought it would be depressing. The film, which chronicles how a twenty-something Kris Carr used her cancer diagnosis as an opportunity embrace life in all its craziness ended up being one of the most uplifting and inspiring documentaries I've ever seen, and I now recommend it to everyone. That's a long way of saying that Kris, who credits her roughly 80 percent raw diet for a lot of her health, energy, and joy, keeps a great blog, updated by a team of experts, guest posters, and herself. Raw food comes up as a frequent and delicious topic.
Pam Sterling's blog. I met Pam at a local green conference, where she made Cinnamon Balls with Vanilla Cream Sauce that were so delicious I instantly became a fan. Pam not only offers free recipes and how-to videos through her blog, but also leads 30-day online workshops that'll help you implement a 75 to 100 percent raw food diet. Mull over whether or not you're ready for that kind of intensive commitment while nibbling on delicious raw cinnamon balls -- because Pam's made the recipe available for free -- and put together a how-to video!
Pure2Raw. Raw cuisine isn't just an obsession for Hollywood types. Lori and Michelle are twins who live and "bake" raw delights at Twin Cakes Bakery in the Raleigh/Durham area. Their personal, co-written blog shares everything from their thoughts on veganism (Michelle's divorced herself from the label) to their daily routine. Plus, every Friday, the twins put up a free raw recipe up -- such as this one for Summer Basil Lime Un-baked Lasagna.
Natalia's blog. Love goat cheese, red wine, and dark chocolate? So does Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet, who enjoys those non-raw treats alongside her largely raw diet. Natalia's books are especially helpful for those who are interested in going mostly-raw and seek structured guidance getting to that stage, because the books contain more detailed diet plans. Visit her blog for free recipes for cooling dishes like The Spring Cell Cleanse, a fruity soup.
Now, I know not everyone's as enthusiastic about eating raw as I am. Common complaints about raw food include:
1) All the faux-carb dishes, from the "lasagna" to "pizza," taste like salad,
2) Raw food requires too many gadgets, like spiralizers and dehydrators, and
3) Why not just eat a fresh peach (or some other raw fruit or veggie)?
To that, I say enjoy your delicious salads and peaches while eating raw at home -- then let a raw restaurant near you do the spiralizing and dehydrating if you have a hankering for a special treat!
BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel eats about 50 percent raw and blogs at greenLAgirl.com.
Photos by Siel
More from living